Regulation of International Financial Markets and International Banking

This research group analyses causes and consequences of banks' international activities and the regulatory framework they operate in.

Internationally active banks can facilitate an efficient international allocation of capital and provide channels for international risk sharing. But they can also be a source of financial instabilities themselves, thus contributing to international contagion and risk-shifting. This is one reason for the current re-regulation of international banking.

The research group contributes to the literature in three ways. First, the group empirically analyses the channels through which shocks are transmitted by internationally active banks. Second, the group analyses the build-up of aggregate imbalances in integrated banking markets and resulting consequences for the real economy. Third, the group analyses the impact of changes in banking supervision and regulation on (inter)national activities of banks, with a special focus on the European integration process.


IWH Data Project: International Banking Library

Research Cluster
Financial Stability and Regulation

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Professor Dr Lena Tonzer
Professor Dr Lena Tonzer
Mitglied - Department Financial Markets
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07.2017 ‐ 12.2022

The Political Economy of the European Banking Union

European Social Fund (ESF)

Causes of national differences in the implementation of the Banking Union and the resulting impact on financial stability.

see project's webpage

Professor Dr Lena Tonzer

01.2015 ‐ 12.2017

Dynamic Interactions between Banks and the Real Economy

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Professor Dr Felix Noth

Refereed Publications


The Impact of Public Guarantees on Bank Risk-taking: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Reint E. Gropp C. Gruendl Andre Guettler

in: Review of Finance, No. 2, 2014


In 2001, government guarantees for savings banks in Germany were removed following a lawsuit. We use this natural experiment to examine the effect of government guarantees on bank risk-taking. The results suggest that banks whose government guarantee was removed reduced credit risk by cutting off the riskiest borrowers from credit. Using a difference-in-differences approach we show that none of these effects are present in a control group of German banks to whom the guarantee was not applicable. Furthermore, savings banks adjusted their liabilities away from risk-sensitive debt instruments after the removal of the guarantee, while we do not observe this for the control group. We also document that yield spreads of savings banks’ bonds increased significantly right after the announcement of the decision to remove guarantees, while the yield spread of a sample of bonds issued by the control group remained unchanged. The evidence implies that public guarantees may be associated with substantial moral hazard effects.

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Do Banks Benefit from Internationalization? Revisiting the Market Power–Risk Nexus

Claudia M. Buch C. T. Koch Michael Koetter

in: Review of Finance, No. 4, 2013


We analyze the impact of bank internationalization on domestic market power (Lerner index) and risk for German banks. Risk is measured by the official declaration of regulatory authorities that a bank is distressed. We distinguish the volume of foreign assets, the number of foreign countries, and different modes of foreign entry. Our analysis has three main results. First, higher market power is associated with lower risk. Second, holding assets in many countries reduce market power at home, but banks with a higher share of foreign assets exhibit higher market power. Third, bank internationalization is only weakly related to bank risk.

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Initial Evidence from a New Database on Capital Market Restrictions

Makram El-Shagi

in: Panoeconomicus, No. 3, 2012


One of the key obstacles to the empirical analysis of capital controls has been the unavailability of a detailed set of indicators for controls that cover a broad set of countries over a range of years. In this paper, we propose a new set of indicators derived from the Annual Reports on Exchange Arrangements and Export Restrictions. Contrary to most earlier attempts to construct control indicators from this source, our set of indices allows one to analyze the control intensity separately for inflow, outflow and repatriation controls. An additional set of indicators features information on the institutional design of controls. At first glance, the data show that the financial crisis caused a surge in capital market restrictions, most notably concerning the derivatives market. This reflex, which is not justified by the scarce empirical evidence on the success of controls, shows the importance of having a valid measure to allow an econometrically sound policy evaluation in this field. The data are available from the author upon request.

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The Distorting Impact of Capital Controls

Makram El-Shagi

in: German Economic Review, No. 1, 2012


This paper uses panel data to show that capital controls have a significant impact on international interest rate differentials. Various types of controls can be distinguished within the data. The analysis shows that the aforementioned effects of capital controls on interest rates are especially strong in the case of capital import controls on portfolio capital; the implementation of these controls has been suggested in the wake of the Asian Crisis to prevent further crises. The results presented herein contradict the hypothesis that capital controls can achieve a restructuring of the maturity of capital inflows without a distortion in international capital allocation.

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Protect and Survive? Did Capital Controls Help Shield Emerging Markets from the Crisis?

Makram El-Shagi

in: Economics Bulletin, No. 1, 2012


Using a new dataset on capital market regulation, we analyze whether capital controls helped protect emerging markets from the real economic consequences of the 2009 financial and economic crisis. The impact of the crisis is measured by the 2009 forecast error of a panel state space model, which analyzes the business cycle dynamics of 63 middle-income countries. We find that neither capital controls in general nor controls that were specifically targeted to derivatives (that played a crucial role during the crisis) helped shield economies. However, banking regulation that limits the exposure of banks to global risks has been highly successful.

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Working Papers


Explaining Regional Disparities in Housing Prices Across German Districts

Lars Brausewetter Stephan L. Thomsen Johannes Trunzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 13, 2022


Over the last decade, German housing prices have increased unprecedentedly. Drawing on quality-adjusted housing price data at the district level, we document large and increasing regional disparities: Growth rates were higher in 1) the largest seven cities, 2) districts located in the south, and 3) districts with higher initial price levels. Indications of price bubbles are concentrated in the largest cities and in the purchasing market. Prices seem to be driven by the demand side: Increasing population density, higher shares of academically educated employees and increasing purchasing power explain our findings, while supply remained relatively constrained in the short term.

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Stress-ridden Finance and Growth Losses: Does Financial Development Break the Link?

Serafín Martínez-Jaramillo Ricardo Montañez-Enríquez Matias Ossandon Busch Manuel Ramos-Francia Anahí Rodríguez-Martínez José Manuel Sánchez-Martínez

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 3, 2022


Does financial development shield countries from the pass-through of financial shocks to real outcomes? We evaluate this question by characterising the probability density of expected GDP growth conditional on financial stability indicators in a panel of 28 countries. Our robust results unveil a non-linear nexus between financial stability and expected GDP growth, depending on countries’ degree of financial development. While both domestic and global financial factors affect expected growth, the effect of global factors is moderated by financial development. This result highlights a previously unexplored channel trough which financial development can break the link between financial (in)stability and GDP growth.

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Firm Subsidies, Financial Intermediation, and Bank Risk

Aleksandr Kazakov Michael Koetter Mirko Titze Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2022


We study whether government subsidies can stimulate bank funding of marginal investment projects and the associated effect on financial stability. We do so by exploiting granular project-level information for the largest regional economic development programme in Germany since 1997: the Improvement of Regional Economic Structures programme (GRW). By combining the universe of subsidised firms to virtually all German local banks over the period 1998-2019, we test whether this large-scale transfer programme destabilised regional credit markets. Because GRW subsidies to firms are destabilised at the EU level, we can use it as an exogenous shock to identify bank responses. On average, firm subsidies do not affect bank lending, but reduce banks’ distance to default. Average effects conflate important bank-level heterogeneity though. Conditional on various bank traits, we show that well capitalised banks with more industry experience expand lending when being exposed to subsidised firms without exhibiting more risky financial profiles. Our results thus indicate that stable banks can act as an important facilitator of regional economic development policies. Against the backdrop of pervasive transfer payments to mitigate Covid-19 losses and in light of far-reaching transformation policies required to green the economy, our study bears important implications as to whether and which banks to incorporate into the design of transfer Programmes.

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Completing the European Banking Union: Capital Cost Consequences for Credit Providers and Corporate Borrowers

Michael Koetter Thomas Krause Eleonora Sfrappini Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 4, 2021


The bank recovery and resolution directive (BRRD) regulates the bail-in hierarchy to resolve distressed banks without burdening tax payers. We exploit the staggered implementation of the BRRD across 15 European Union (EU) member states to identify banks’ capital cost and capital structure responses. In a first stage, we show that average capital costs of banks increased. WACC hikes are lowest in the core countries of the European Monetary Union (EMU) compared to formerly stressed EMU and non-EMU countries. This pattern is driven by changes in the relative WACC weight of equity in response to the BRRD, which indicates enhanced financial system resilience. In a second stage, we document asymmetric transmission patterns of banks’ capital cost changes on to corporates’ borrowing terms. Only EMU banks located in core countries that exhibit higher WACC are those that also increase firms’ borrowing cost and contract credit supply. Hence, the BRRD had unintended consequences for selected segments of the real economy.

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Financial Linkages and Sectoral Business Cycle Synchronisation: Evidence from Europe

Hannes Böhm Julia Schaumburg Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 2, 2020


We analyse whether financial integration between countries leads to converging or diverging business cycles using a dynamic spatial model. Our model allows for contemporaneous spillovers of shocks to GDP growth between countries that are financially integrated and delivers a scalar measure of the spillover intensity at each point in time. For a financial network of ten European countries from 1996-2017, we find that the spillover effects are positive on average but much larger during periods of financial stress, pointing towards stronger business cycle synchronisation. Dismantling GDP growth into value added growth of ten major industries, we observe that some sectors are strongly affected by positive spillovers (wholesale & retail trade, industrial production), others only to a weaker degree (agriculture, construction, finance), while more nationally influenced industries show no evidence for significant spillover effects (public administration, arts & entertainment, real estate).

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